Prompt: A book written by an author in their 20s
I’ve had Normal People by Sally Rooney on my shelf for a while. I’ve even managed to avoid watching the series as I hadn’t read the book yet. I had planned to read it on the plane to Greece, which sadly didn’t happen, but I took it to Norfolk instead and read some of it on the beach there so I can count as my beach read for the summer reading challenge too 😀
What it’s about:
At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school soccer team while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her housekeeping job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers – one they are determined to conceal.
A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years in college, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. Then, as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.
Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.
What I think:
There’s probably not much I can say about this book that hasn’t already been said.
While I did not find either Marianne or Connell to be particularly likeable characters, I could relate to the intensity and somewhat pretentiousness of universoty froednships and dysfunctional relationships.
The fear of not fitting in, or conforming, loneliness in crowds is something that everyone experiences.
I’m not a huge fan of writers that don’t use punctuation for speech but in thia case I think it really worked and added to the way the characters were feeling. The use of time and the episodic nature of the book was also brilliantly done.
The structure of the book allows Marianne’s destructive sexual relationships and Connells depression and loneliness to develop naturally and allows the reader to fill in the gaps.
This book was completely absorbing.and it is well.worthy of the praise that has been heaped upon it. I shall definitely be watching the series now.
If you haven’t read Normal People already you can get it from:
Waterstones: click here
Amazon.co.uk: click here